Is it safe to ride bikes on campus sidewalks without helmets?
The issue is one the university has to decide. I am doing my best to be sure the decision is made by them in full awareness of the related facts I can find.
According to a study by William E. Moritz, Ph.D. of the University of Washington entitled Adult Bicyclists in the U.S. presented at the Transportation Research Board’s 77th Annual Meeting, January 11-15, 1998 in Washington D.C., “A RELATIVE DANGER INDEX is calculated which shows that streets with bike lanes have a significantly lower crash rate then either major or minor streets without any bicycle facilities (38 and 56% respectively). Multi-use trails have a crash rate about 40% greater than would be expected based on the miles cycled on them while cycling on the sidewalk is extremely dangerous.” Here are related links I hope will be helpful for this discussion:
A couple of related comments I have collected:
I am reassured of the value of my helmet In June ’06 a mechanical problem caused my chain to come off the rear derailer, a quick spin of my clipped in feet, and going only about 4 mph, I fell into a ditch on the side of the road – I couldn’t get my feet out quick enough, obviously. My head/helmet hit a large rock in the ditch and cracked my helmet. Yes, I saw stars!
I can tell you about an incident that happened downtown. I was walking north on 4th Street (which is one way heading south) and a guy on a bike (traveling against traffic and on the sidewalk) came up behind me. He swerved around me and hit a woman who was coming out of the parking garage. He hit her hard enough to knock her over. She was dazed, but OK. The whole thing could have been avoided had he been riding properly, but that’s just my opinion.
I ride my bike to EVC (sometimes), using a road around the edge of campus to get to my office. I am opposed to cycling through the core of the EVC campus. When I was a student at UCSB, I road a bike and objected to not being allowed to ride through the campus. (UCSB actually allowed this, in bike lanes, at low speeds, with stop signs where the lanes crossed walking paths. I was objecting to the speed and stop signs. Hey, I was “younger” then.) In researching police accident records for a Public Speaking course assignment, trying to gather evidence for my position, I learned of the many bike/pedestrian collisions and changed my mind. Bikes are vehicles and belong with other vehicles, not pedestrians! This is what we teach in the ACTC Academy. Stay off sidewalks, off walkways, out of crosswalks, unless you are walking your bike!
Feel free to use this where you think appropriate, along with my LCI #.
Harry Lichtbach LCI #1047
Almaden Cycle Touring Club
San Jose, CA. USA
What is current practice at SJSU:
[Click here to see related pictures on Flickr]